Former Guns & Ammo columnist speaks out on becoming 'a pariah'

The ex-Guns & Ammo Magazine writer fired after penning a column in favor of limited gun control is speaking out, bitterly saying, “I’ve been vanished, disappeared. Now you see him. Now you don’t.”

“Compromise is a bad word these days,” Dick Metcalf, 67, told The New York Times of what he believes is the unyielding, give-no-ground ethos adopted by Second Amendment supporters in the U.S. today. “People think it means giving up your principles.”

Metcalf, a longtime writer on firearms and U.S. gun culture, saw his association with Guns & Ammo terminated in November -- he also had a T.V. show co-produced by the magazine -- after he wrote a column titled, “Let’s Talk Limits: Do certain firearm regulations really constitute infringement?”


Metcalf, a former history professor at both Yale and Cornell, argued in the piece that, “way too many” gun owners believe any regulation of the right to bear arms is an infringement prohibited by the Constitution.

“The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be,” Metcalf wrote in what turned out to be his final column for the magazine.

“Freedom of speech is regulated. You cannot falsely and deliberating shout, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is regulated. A church cannot practice human sacrifice. Freedom of assembly is regulated.”

Metcalf continued: “The question is, when does regulation become infringement?” before concluding the column by arguing in favor of 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry license.

Editors had approved Metcalf’s column prior to publication -- but that didn’t stop them from firing him following a vitriolic backlash from readers and advertisers. The column also led to the ouster of the magazine’s top editor, Jim Bequette, but only after he apologized to its 400,000 readers for Metcalf’s piece.

“Some topics you should never try and discuss too briefly because they can’t be dealt with like that,” Metcalf told The Times of what he considers his lone bit of remorse over the fateful column.

Now, Metcalf says he is treated as a pariah by the industry in which he once thrived. The Times writes that when people ask the disenfranchised journalist of his plans, he exhibits a photograph taken shortly after InterMedia -- which owns Guns & Ammon -- fired him. The image shows him holding a gun, along with a sign reading, “Will Hunt For Food.”

Following Metcalf's dismissal, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told Metcalf “absolutely did not” deserve to lose his post.

“If he suggested a ban on all guns, then I would understand that reaction,” Watts said. “But to say a fair exchange of ideas on how to stem the deaths and murders in this country because of gun violence is an act of heresy just reeks of no tolerance.”